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This Week in Tech History: Nintendo’s Shady Past

A popular video game company is born and starts their storied history, and a major car manufacturer begins operation, but not on cars… It all happened This Week in Tech History.

This week back in 1889 – A company we know today, was founded in Japan to produce and market handmade hanafuda cards. Translating to “flower cards,” these were a style of Japanese playing cards used to play a variety of games. The company went on to explore other ventures including cab services and love hotels. You might guess by the name, what those hotels were for. And yes, they charged by the hour. By the 1960’s the company had ventured into the toy business and by the 1970’s they shifted to video games, becoming one of the most influential in the industry and Japan’s third most-valuable company. Nintendo is hoping we focus less on the love hotels and more on what they’re most known for – their video game consoles which they first introduced in 1977. From 1992 until 2016, Nintendo was also the majority shareholder of Major League Baseball’s Seattle Mariners.

1948 – The Honda Motor Company is founded. Beginning with a staff of 12 men working in a tiny shack, they built and sold improvised motorized bicycles, using a supply of two-stroke 50 cc war surplus engines. When the engines ran out, Honda began building their own copy of the engine, and supplying these to customers to attach to their bicycles. This was the Honda A-Type, nicknamed the Bata Bata for the sound the engine made.

And this week in 1977 – The “Voyager I” spacecraft which was launched a couple weeks earlier from cape Canaveral in Florida, snapped the first photograph showing the earth and moon together. “Voyager I” is still in service today, and is further away from Earth than any other man-made object.

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Written by Chris Graveline

Chris has covered consumer technology for over 20 years. He is the host of This Week in Tech History as well as a regular co-host on "Into Tomorrow with Dave Graveline" and our Technical Director.

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